As mentioned in part one of our starting pitcher rankings, there were 59 qualified starters who finished with an ERA below 4.00 in 2013. Compare that to 2006 when just 28 qualified starters finished with ERAs under 4.00 and you see a league where stellar pitching has become the norm. As that has happened, batting production has declined which means it’s important to focus on getting great hitters first since there will be plenty of value available among pitchers later in the draft and even through the waiver wire during the season.
When you consider all of the starters who could provide good value throughout the season, it makes less sense to take risks on pitchers compared to hitters. There are more sure-things available which means you can really play on the “let him be someone else’s problem” strategy. Among the pitchers below, some that may not be worth the risk include R.A. Dickey after a disappointing first season with the Blue Jays, Tim Lincecum after two down years, Ubaldo Jimenez who bounced back in a big way in 2013 but has a shaky track record, Dan Haren who has really been on the slide for a couple of years, Josh Johnson who’s flat out a question mark, and Taijuan Walker who has yet to show he has Major League-ready stuff and is already nursing a shoulder injury.
On the other hand, there is plenty of cheap value that can be had late in drafts or even on the waiver wire. Dillon Gee may not have the strikeouts you’d like in a fantasy starter but his 3.62 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, and 12 wins can be had in the final rounds of most drafts. Tyson Ross was a solid reliever but he’s turned into an excellent starter. In 2013, Ross posted a 3.06 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, and 97 strikeouts over 94 innings as a starter and is a burning value that can be had very late. Kyle Lohse, like Gee, may not offer a ton of strikeouts but when you consider he hasn’t posted an ERA over 3.39 in three straight seasons and has a combined 3.19 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, and 41 wins over those three years, he’s clearly a guy who poses very little risk for his current ADP of 337 (basically, undrafted).
With all that in mind, let’s take a look at our full 2014 fantasy baseball starting pitcher rankings for the starters that didn’t crack our top 45. Be sure to check out our outfield rankings and projections, first base rankings and projections, second base rankings and projections, third base rankings and projections, shortstop rankings and projections, and catcher rankings and projections.
Stay tuned for full starting pitcher projections coming this week.